The duo Slaves will be known as Soft Play, its members said, apologizing to those who found its prior moniker offensive
UK punk rock band Slaves has given up trying to defend its controversial name, members Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman revealed in a statement posted to Instagram on Friday. The duo will return to performance after a hiatus under the new name Soft Play.
“Feeling backed into a corner, our own pride caused us to fight for a name we weren’t even sure we wanted any more,” the pair said. “It felt at times as if our band name had defined us and we were scared of what might happen if we changed it.”
“However, we now recognise that our original intent doesn’t change the fact that the name Slaves is an issue. In this day and age we believe it is very important that people change and make improvements no matter how far down the line they are,” they declared.
After achieving modest success with their 2012 debut, the band was skewered by music outlet Fader, which took offense at “a band of white dudes” calling themselves Slaves in 2015. The group had explained the name was metaphorical, “intended solely as a reference to the grind of day-to-day life.” They claimed to have begun their music careers “working tedious 9-5 jobs when we started playing together, stacking shelves and mopping floors.” They had, they said, aimed at “an abrasive sounding word, like Clash,” but were only trying to sound “aggressive,” not actually “provoke.”
Years of constantly explaining this aesthetic choice apparently wore on the pair, however, as they went on hiatus in 2018. Now, they “want to sincerely apologise to anyone we’ve offended.”
Most of the comments on the band’s Instagram comeback post expressed some form of bewilderment, with some fans wondering if the punk rockers’ new identity might be a joke or publicity stunt.
Slaves – or Soft Play – are not the only popular outfit to take up a new name in the racially-fraught 2020s. Country band Dixie Chicks changed its name to The Chicks in 2020 in order to avoid any potential association with the Confederate flag, a once-beloved cultural symbol of the US South that was exiled from public view amid the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Fellow country outfit Lady Antebellum shortened its name to Lady A around the same time, for similar reasons (the word ‘antebellum’ refers to the period before the US Civil War, when slavery was still legal in some parts of the country).
December 12, 2022 at 01:21AM